Posts tagged animals
Perhaps because we’re bombarded on all sides by animal cuteness, there’s something appealing about a book called “Animal Madness.” Enough with all the cuddling, you might think; it’s time for the real story, which Laurel Braitman, a historian of science with a Ph.D. from M.I.T., aims to tell. 

Where the BuzzFeed Animals page, for example, urges us to see animals as an undifferentiated mass of squee-worthy fluff, Braitman wants us to take animals seriously—to see them as individuals with life histories and psychologies as dramatic and intense as our own. 

Despite the winsome book design (there’s an adorably sad dog on the cover, and drawings of a glum raccoon and gorilla on the inside), there’s nothing remotely cute about this goal. “Animal Madness” is so upsetting, in fact, that I wanted to stop reading it about halfway through. 

It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on. 

Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes—to see animal “depression” or “anxiety” as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents. Braitman pushes back against that tendency. She has an absolute, not a comparative, sense of the animal soul. 

What matters isn’t how much an animal’s mental life is “worth,” compared to a person’s, but how wholly and powerfully it is illuminated by happiness or darkened by anguish. “Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time,” she writes. An animal’s life can be changed utterly by mental illness, just like a person’s. 

A gorilla that sees her family killed, and that is kidnapped and brought to a zoo to live out her life on display, may have her whole existence reshaped by trauma, loneliness, and fear. Why argue about how intelligent she is? The point is that her life has been knocked off course and that she is suffering; she is no longer the animal she was. 

Laurel Braitman’s “Animal Madness”

Perhaps because we’re bombarded on all sides by animal cuteness, there’s something appealing about a book called “Animal Madness.” Enough with all the cuddling, you might think; it’s time for the real story, which Laurel Braitman, a historian of science with a Ph.D. from M.I.T., aims to tell.

Where the BuzzFeed Animals page, for example, urges us to see animals as an undifferentiated mass of squee-worthy fluff, Braitman wants us to take animals seriously—to see them as individuals with life histories and psychologies as dramatic and intense as our own.

Despite the winsome book design (there’s an adorably sad dog on the cover, and drawings of a glum raccoon and gorilla on the inside), there’s nothing remotely cute about this goal. “Animal Madness” is so upsetting, in fact, that I wanted to stop reading it about halfway through.

It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on.

Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes—to see animal “depression” or “anxiety” as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents. Braitman pushes back against that tendency. She has an absolute, not a comparative, sense of the animal soul.

What matters isn’t how much an animal’s mental life is “worth,” compared to a person’s, but how wholly and powerfully it is illuminated by happiness or darkened by anguish. “Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time,” she writes. An animal’s life can be changed utterly by mental illness, just like a person’s.

A gorilla that sees her family killed, and that is kidnapped and brought to a zoo to live out her life on display, may have her whole existence reshaped by trauma, loneliness, and fear. Why argue about how intelligent she is? The point is that her life has been knocked off course and that she is suffering; she is no longer the animal she was.

Laurel Braitman’s “Animal Madness”

This instalment in my A-Z of Australian megafauna series has been long overdue (the last one was written way back in October 2013) so, without further ado, we’ll get straight into talking about it! 

This time, it’s one of the most, if not the iconic Australian megafauna taxon, Diprotodon. Read on, for a brief introduction to the quintessential extinct Aussie. The name Diprotodon means “two front teeth” and refers to the enlarged, constantly growing first incisors of the animal. 

It was the very first fossil mammal to be described from Australia and it was named by none other than the man who coined the name dinosaur, Richard Owen, in 1838. 

It still remains uncertain exactly how many species of Diprotodon there were, estimates vary between one to eight depending on who you talk to. However, studies have revealed that Diprotodon was most likely sexually dimorphic, implying that some of the other named species are in fact just members of the opposite sex. 

Australian Megafauna A-Z: D is for Diprotodon

This instalment in my A-Z of Australian megafauna series has been long overdue (the last one was written way back in October 2013) so, without further ado, we’ll get straight into talking about it!

This time, it’s one of the most, if not the iconic Australian megafauna taxon, Diprotodon. Read on, for a brief introduction to the quintessential extinct Aussie. The name Diprotodon means “two front teeth” and refers to the enlarged, constantly growing first incisors of the animal.

It was the very first fossil mammal to be described from Australia and it was named by none other than the man who coined the name dinosaur, Richard Owen, in 1838.

It still remains uncertain exactly how many species of Diprotodon there were, estimates vary between one to eight depending on who you talk to. However, studies have revealed that Diprotodon was most likely sexually dimorphic, implying that some of the other named species are in fact just members of the opposite sex.

Australian Megafauna A-Z: D is for Diprotodon

The Price of Killing Off Animal Testing
Each year, more than 25 million animals are used for scientific research in the U.S. More than 90 percent of those are mice - sort of. These lab-raised animals don’t burrow or gather like their wild peers. They are more like abstractions of human ills, mouse models of disease, genetically engineered to die in a very particular way.
"This is the central contradiction of animal experimentation: Mice are like us in all the ways that matter, so they’re used as stand-ins for humans - but the moral significance of those similarities is ignored," says Justin Goodman, who has been an animal rights activist since he saw scientists drill holes in the heads of monkeys as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut.
Since the 1980s, the rise of transgenesis - the science of genetic engineering - has brought with it a seemingly endless series of biomedical breakthroughs. It has also opened up a field of inquiry about the unnerving price of all this. “The use of primates in research has increased, and the use of mice has exploded,” Goodman tells Newsweek.

The Price of Killing Off Animal Testing

Each year, more than 25 million animals are used for scientific research in the U.S. More than 90 percent of those are mice - sort of. These lab-raised animals don’t burrow or gather like their wild peers. They are more like abstractions of human ills, mouse models of disease, genetically engineered to die in a very particular way.

"This is the central contradiction of animal experimentation: Mice are like us in all the ways that matter, so they’re used as stand-ins for humans - but the moral significance of those similarities is ignored," says Justin Goodman, who has been an animal rights activist since he saw scientists drill holes in the heads of monkeys as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut.

Since the 1980s, the rise of transgenesis - the science of genetic engineering - has brought with it a seemingly endless series of biomedical breakthroughs. It has also opened up a field of inquiry about the unnerving price of all this. “The use of primates in research has increased, and the use of mice has exploded,” Goodman tells Newsweek.

huffpostcomedy:

Anyone in the New York area who wants to meet Lil Bub, she’ll be at the BARC Animal Shelter in Brooklyn tonight from 5 - 7 PM raising money for local shelter animals. 

Oh please go say hi to Lil’ Bub (and help some animals in need while you’re at it). 

huffpostcomedy:

Anyone in the New York area who wants to meet Lil Bub, she’ll be at the BARC Animal Shelter in Brooklyn tonight from 5 - 7 PM raising money for local shelter animals. 

Oh please go say hi to Lil’ Bub (and help some animals in need while you’re at it). 

If you live in Minneapolis and love cat videos, boy, do we have an event for you:

On Aug. 30, the well-respected Minneapolis institution the Walker Art Center will hold the first-ever film festival of Internet cat videos… It’s “more of a social experiment,” says the organizer and a Walker programming director, Katie Hill. It was started to see whether the online cat community would even go outside, says Hill, who has two cats herself.

I believe that anally electrocuting an animal is a violent behavior. I don’t believe a bit of pie can be compared to that in any way.
PETA vice president Kathy Guillermo tells us she sheds no tears for celebs like Kim Kardashian who get pied and flour-bombed for wearing fur.